The infamous ‘Group of Death’ took a surprising twist as underdogs Costa Rica defeated Uruguay in a thrilling 3-1 match at the Estádio Castelão in Fortaleza. Perched at the top of the table, Costa Rica are in a good position to go through if they avoid consecutive defeats to England and Italy.
Boasting a squad of top notch players in the form of Cavani, Forlán, Godin and Cáceres with Suarez on the bench to boost confidence, ‘The Sky Blue’ failed to capitalize inspite of having the upper hand early on. Costa Rica were unable to find the the right click to their game as they fell behind to a penalty converted by the PSG ace, Cavani in the 25th minute. A horrible foul committed by Junior Diaz was to be the start of their ‘supposed’ downfall. The men in blue continued with their relentless push as Forlán’s magic was producing a number of good plays only to be wasted by the Cavani on a couple of occasions.
Surprisingly, though, the next 45 minutes was a complete turn-around for the ‘Los Ticos’ team. They started to push forward with Joel Campbell providing the much needed pace up front. And around the 54th minute, Costa Rica found a little ray of hope as Campbell struck on goal with precise accuracy. The stunning strike drove the fans crazy and the players were starting to find the flow to their short passing game.
Within two minutes, Oscar Duarte scored the second goal for Costa Rica with a brilliant header within the box. It was also a personal achievement as it was his maiden international goal. 12 years and running since Campbell and his compatriots won a World Cup match. They were nearing the end of the tunnel. The upset still had not sunk in for the Uruguay players. In the 84th minute, substitute Marco Ureña scored a beauty within 3 minutes of coming onto the pitch. Nearing the frustration point, extra time saw the Sevilla defender, Maximiliano Pereira kick Campbell and earn the first red card of the tournament.
The game witnessed a number of fouls, as both teams combined equaled a total of 38 fouls. If you take a look at the stats, Costa Rica’s second half performance outplayed the first and tip almost all stats in their favor. Clearly Campbell’s pace and proper shot selection guided Costa Rica to a shocker of a match. Uruguay were clearly outplayed in the second half and were helpless throughout. Though possession seemed even with Uruguay with the edge, the number of chances created while holding the ball weren’t enough and the scoreline is evident of that.
Hopefully Uruguay bounce back from this depressing loss and take on England and Italy with more focus and determination. Costa Rica will rejoice the win and will try to avoid defeat in their remaining two matches to stay alive and progress further in the tournament.